The Market Oriented University

The Market Oriented University

Transforming Higher Education

John A. Davis and Mark A. Farrell

The next decade will be transformative for the higher education sector. Government funding is decreasing. Through their marketing activities universities have created the ‘student consumer.’ The student consumer is prepared to shop around, compare prices and value, and once purchased expects a return on their investment. Disruptive innovations are challenging traditional forms of learning and in many cases are viewed as better alternatives to traditional learning in the classroom. Competition from private educational providers is increasing. Their cost base is lower, and their customer focus is superior. In short, universities around the world are facing a perfect storm. While experts don’t expect the higher education sector to collapse under these challenges, they do believe that for some institutions the future looks bleak. If universities are to avoid closures or mergers, they will need to adopt a market-oriented approach.

Chapter 4: Disrupting higher education

John A. Davis and Mark A. Farrell

Subjects: business and management, management education, management and universities, marketing, education, management and universities, management education


In this chapter we answer two deceptively simple questions: What is a market-oriented organization and what are the benefits of being market oriented? To address these questions we review the marketing literature and provide an overview of the marketing concept and the evolution towards a market orientation. We compare and contrast the culture versus behaviour view of market orientation before providing the reader with an understanding of how to measure a market orientation, by illustrating the key market orientation measures. We then demonstrate the benefits of being market oriented and conclude by examining some of the marketing activities undertaken in some universities.

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